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If you’ve ever woken up feeling groggy and have only felt worse throughout the day, you know just how important a good night’s sleep can be. Beyond just feeling energized and refreshed, catching some Zs can also help with your workout regimen.
Researchers conducted a 16-week long sleep and exercise study – published in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine – with two groups of women: those who engaged in regular physical activity and others who remained inactive. Researchers found that the participants who exercised had reduced levels of insomnia compared to those who did not work out. However, they reported having exercised for a shorter period of time on the days following a poor sleep. The conclusion: Sleeping may have an even greater impact your ability to exercise than vice versa. Follow these tips to achieve a better night’s sleep:
It’s no secret that a massage can put you in a serene state, but more research on just how relaxing this type of therapy can be is surfacing. As it turns out, massage can promote a better – and longer – night’s sleep.
A pilot study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing evaluated the effects of massage on women ages 65 years or older and that had dementia with sleep disturbances. Researchers found that those who received a three-minute slow stroke back massage before bed reported an average of 36 more minutes of sleep per night compared to non-massage participants.
Keep a personal massager by your bedside table and treat yourself to a few minutes of this therapy before you drift to sleep. Not only might this help your workout tomorrow, but it can also sooth sore muscles from today’s physical activity.
If you’re in the habit of sipping on a warm cup of tea before bed, make sure it’s chamomile. Tea connoisseurs frequently turn to this ancient plant-based brew for its anxiety-relieving effects. What’s more, it may reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and help with digestive health. One to three cups per day will do the trick, so consider swapping out your breakfast and lunchtime beverages for this drink as well.
According to HelpGuide.org, a good night’s rest is more achievable if you have a regular wake-sleep schedule, part of which involves getting enough sunlight during the day. Those brilliant rays are nature’s way of telling you it’s time to be alert, so getting exposure to the sun may help you fight drowsiness. Open up the window shades, exercise outside or take a walk on your lunch break.
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Is your daily routine negatively impacted by that relentless ache in your lower back? Can you feel it throbbing for attention as you read this? You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life.
Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride: